“A Quest for Equality: Technology and Global Links in Japan’s Space Program, 1960s-2003” by
Quest Volume: 28 #2 (2021)
The success of Japan’s Hayabusa probes have put the country’s space effort at the forefront of exploring the cosmos. Yet some of the oldest and largest non-superpower space programs, the efforts of institutions like Tokyo University’s AVSA, its successor ISAS, and its rival NASDA have a significant role in explaining the motivations for countries exploring space beyond political competition. In the case of Japan, these institutions, and their more centralized successor, JAXA, developed through an intimate relationship with Japan’s Cold War suzerain, the United States. The relationship between the two countries veered from early wariness to conditional cooperation, to economic competition, to eventual scientific truce. Both governments, though nominally allies, had their own reasons for cooperating; both were capable of doing great damage to the other’s space interests if necessary, and sometimes did. Partly to break free from U.S. influence, Japanese space explorers and rocketeers began to look farther afield–to India, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and even China–in a search for partners and markets for their products. This article traces both these efforts and explores the multifaceted efforts of Japan to establish a global niche and reputation as a major space power.
Wijeyeratne, Subodhana. “A Quest for Equality: Technology and Global Links in Japan’s Space Program, 1960s-2003.” Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly 28, no. 2 (2021): 15-30.